TES Young Poet of the Week

21st February 1997 at 00:00

Down the stream the fall is far away now.


Stones are splashing me.

We are out of sight Not alright.

We are playing splashing each other with stones.


I am bent over the gleaming water.

I am startled by shock and pain, There is a rock on my head.

Calm down!

Be quiet.

Our sisters are coming.

They shout but we are out of earshot.

I remember the clear running, shining water And the dark stones.

At last, Mummy's cuddles and There . . . there . . .


I particularly like this poem for the way in which playfulness becomes a controlled panic, then it's those sisters (rather ambiguously) to the rescue, and finally there's the unambiguous reassurance of maternal cuddles. That's the emotion and the action, but the setting is also vividly recreated: 'I am bent over the gleaming water'. The dark stones, too, have a power in the poem which is somehow more than simply descriptive. This initially mischievous but rather frightening little incident grows in the mind with a haunting immediacy.

Nathan Nye, aged 8, receives Back By Midnight by John Mole (Puffin). Submitted by Mrs J Chicken of St Benedict's Junior School, 5 Montpelier Avenue, Ealing, London, who receives a set of Poetry Society posters with teacher's notes. For Poetry Society events, ring 0171 240 2133.

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